The AER Exchange programme
Connecting youth, regions, businesses and institutions

Founding Texts of the Eurodyssey Programme

The Founding Texts rule the Eurodyssey Programme, its functioning and its implementation by the Regions. They set out the basic guidelines, tasks and responsibilities of the relations between the AER, the regions, the companies and the youngsters. Nevertheless, in respect of the principle of subsidiarity and of the autonomy of the Regions, the Founding Texts leave scope in the transposition for each Region to choose procedures adjusted to its context.

The Founding Texts in their current version have been adopted by the AER General Assembly in Sopron (Györ-Moson-Sopron/H), 29-30 November 2001, modified by the General Assembly in Poznan (Wielkopolska/PL), 27-28 November 2003, and by the Eurodyssey Forum in Amiens (Picardie/FR), 10-12 September 2009.

The Eurodyssey Programme

Youth exchange between the Regions of Europe

Founding principles

The Eurodyssey programme is a programme of the Assembly of European Regions (AER), which differs from community programmes due to its independence and its consistency. Created in 1985 by Edgar FAURE, the then President of the Regional Council of Franche-Comté and the Council of European Regions, every year this programme multiplies the exchanges of young people. Eurodyssey has been able to evolve and adapt to changing ircumstances whilst keeping its original identity.

The general objective of Eurodyssey is to allow young people from all horizons and educational backgrounds to gain professional experience in other European Regions and to facilitate their adjustment to the international labour market.

Considering the importance of Eurodyssey for training, employability and the promotion of regionalism, Regions interested in joining Eurodyssey can find information on membership conditions by taking note of the programme regulations and can join by ratifying the letter of commitment.

Eurodyssey is an exchange programme for partnerships between regional authorities, young people and companies. For all those involved, Eurodyssey pursues specific objectives:

  • Regions which wish to develop mutual exchanges must be AER members and join Eurodyssey. While remaining autonomous, they contribute to promoting the Europe of Regions. By the privileged links that they create among them, Regions enhance young people’s open-mindedness and European citizenship.
  • Young Europeans acquire new competences and make the most of them in the labour market. They discover another culture, gain independence and can improve their foreign language skills.
  • Companies open up to Europe, participate in the training of young people and improve their image.

These founding principles are laid down in the programme regulations below which clarify the objectives and the assignments of all those involved.


Programme regulations

II.1. The President and the General Secretariat of the Eurodyssey programme

II.1.1. Objectives
  • The President and the General Secretariat may not be dissociated.
  • In consultation with the Steering Committee, the Eurodyssey President defines the main guidelines for the programme and ensures their implementation.
  • For that purpose, the President and the General Secretariat inform, disseminate and promote the programme with young people and Regions.
  • They ensure the coherent management and follow-up of the programme.
  • They organize, together with the host Region, the annual forum and the meetings of the Steering Committee.

II.1.2. Assignment
  • Preparation of the Forum and the meetings of the Steering Committee: calendar, agenda and invitations, working documents, meeting comanagement together with the host Region, drafting and transmission of the minutes to all active Regions.
  • Information and communication: day-to-day operation of the programme, distribution of technical and general documents, hosting of the Web site and financing the provider, Eurodyssey press review: collection of articles, design and layout, publishing and dissemination; translating and publishing the vademecum.
  • Contact with and follow-up of new Regions.
  • Translation: Forum invitations in five languages (French, English, German, Spanish and Italian), minutes of the Forum and conclusions of the Steering Committees in French, Spanish and English.
  • Declaration of the trainees to the insurance and payment of the insurance premium to the companies.
  • Drafting of documents: founding texts, information sheets for the young people and the Regions…
  • Producing questionnaires, inquiries, statistics, assessment…
  • Representation of Eurodyssey in conferences, seminars or other events.

II.1.3. Election procedure for the Eurodyssey President
  • Elected political personality from the executive board of an active Region.
  • President elected by the AER General Assembly on the basis of his/her application.
  • Should the position of Eurodyssey President and Secretariat be vacant, and no candidate Region come forward, they will be temporarily replaced by the Steering Committee.
  • The Region that is no longer responsible for the Secretariat and the Presidency may continue as a member of the Steering Committee.
  • Inseparable, the Eurodyssey President and General Secretariat are to be renewed every two years at the AER General Assembly. The appointments can be renewed once without any condition. After that period and in the absence of candidates, the mandate can again be renewed.

II.1.4. AER relations

With the AER General Assembly:

  • The President submits the major proposals and the annual list of conclusions of the Steering Committee for adoption.
  • He informs the General Assembly of the evolution of Eurodyssey at least once a year.

With the AER Bureau:

  • He is responsible and rapporteur for Eurodyssey before the AER Bureau.
  • He participates in all Bureau meetings whose agenda includes questions concerning young people, the vocational training or education.

With AER Committee 3:

  • AER Committee 3, “Culture, Education and Training, Youth, Media, Sport” guarantees the promotion of the Eurodyssey programme. The Presidency and the General Secretariat may speak once a year within the framework of this Committee.

With the AER General Secretariat:

  • The Eurodyssey Secretariat maintains close relations with the AER General Secretariat as regards the management of Eurodyssey and the participation of the Regions. The Eurodyssey Secretariat passes on any document concerning the promotion and the statistics of the programme.

II.2. The Assembly of European Regions (AER)

II.2.1. Objectives

The AER is the political forum and representative organisation of the European Regions. Its mission is to promote regionalism and to stimulate interregional cooperation. Eurodyssey was its first training and exchange programme.

II.2.2. Assignment
  • Ensures the respect of the founding principles and the Eurodyssey programme regulations.
  • Election of the Eurodyssey President and secretariat on the basis of applications from active Regions.
  • Approval of the Steering Committee’s conclusions.
  • Participation in the meetings of the Steering Committee and the Forum.
  • Yearly financial contribution to the Eurodyssey secretariat to cover the insurance costs of all Eurodyssey trainees.
  • Payment of a contribution to interpreting expenses to the Region organising the Forum.
  • Publications.
  • Web site, its hosting by a provider and the related costs.
  • Information of the AER ruling bodies: General Assembly, Bureau and Committees.

II.2.3. Links with the Eurodyssey programme

To participate in the Eurodyssey programme, it is necessary to be an AER member. However, a region that is not an AER member can participate in the programme for a maximum period of one year after its official entry into the programme before deciding to submit its application for full AER membership.

With regard to this matter, the AER Statutes state the following:

Chapter II, Art. 2

The following may become members of the Association :

a) As Full Members, the Regions of the member states of the Council of Europe as well as other European Regions on condition that they respect the basic fundamental principles of the Council of Europe. Groups of Regions within a State may also become full members, unless all members of such a group belong to the AER on an individual basis.

b) As consultative members: the Interregional Associations of European Regions.

c) As observers: The founding organisations and others who so desire, territorial entities which are in the process of regionalisation, individual Regions or regional associations, Regions or associations of non-European Regions or European States who so desire, for a limited time.

d) Details are fixed by the Rules of Procedure.

The term ‘Region’ covers in principle local authorities immediately below the level of central government, with a political power of representation as embodied by an elected regional Assembly. The same territory may be directly represented in the AER by one entity only.

II.3. Regions participating in the Eurodyssey programme

II.3.1. Objectives and Assignment
  • Regions commit themselves to allocating sufficient human and financial resources in order to provide for the hosting and sending of young persons seeking work and their monitoring.
  • They commit themselves to respecting the founding principles and Eurodyssey programme regulations.
  • The Eurodyssey programme has developed in line with the principles which prevailed at its creation in 1985 and which distinguish it from the European Union’s exchange programmes:


  • Every Region defines its own management of Eurodyssey, while respecting the basic programme rules: number of exchanges, method of
  • financing, practical arrangements.
  • The Region will apply its own criteria concerning financing, with the participation of regional companies according to a distribution that the Region itself decides upon.
  • Without calling into question the autonomy principle, the host Region should set up a tripartite agreement involving the host Region, the company and the young person, or documents committing these three partners.
  • While keeping their independence, Regions can apply for European funding (for example: ESF objective 3, INTERREG…) in order to cofinance the scheme.


  • Each Region finances the costs of hosting the trainees which come from other Eurodyssey member Regions. It should also send trainees from its own Region who will be taken care of by the host partner Region.

The network:

  • The Eurodyssey programme is based on a network of partners organised between Regions. Its essential features are the exchange of experience, the sharing of practices and the flexibility of its organisation. It allows for the exchange of information and the evaluation of the programme.

II.3.2. Conditions for participation

The interested Region will contact the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Programme. The latter will officially inform the Region that continuing the programme after the period of one year requires full AER membership.

Contact/Information phase:

  • The Region interested in participating in Eurodyssey must contact the General Secretariat and obtain all the pertinent information concerning the programme.
  • The region expresses its interest in participating in the programme and informs the General Secretariat of the name of the reference region (region from the same country that will provide it with technical and administrative assistance during the adhesion period).
  • The candidate region may as well request to cooperate with a region from another country or ask the General Secretariat to take on the role of reference region.

Membership phase:

  • A partnership is established between the region that is applying to the Eurodyssey programme and the reference region. This partnership concerns the exchange of technical and administrative know-how. This period of exchange should not exceed 60 days, starting on the day the candidate region informs the General Secretariat of the name of the reference region.
  • Official membership will be formalised with the signing of a letter of commitment between the authorities of the candidate Region and the Eurodyssey President. The region that is applying to the programme declares its intention to conform with the prerequisites that are required for participating in the programme: adequate budget; the region must have technical and logistical capacities to participate in the programme; the region has developed partnerships with locals with a view to finding accommodation for the trainees; the region must organise traineeship activities and provide practical language training.
  • Beginning of the exchanges of young trainees with all the regions that participate in the Eurodyssey programme.

II.3.3. Running of the programme

There are two different approaches to work placements: offers from host companies and unsolicited applications from young people.

Hosting trainees:

  • Search for host companies.
  • Dissemination and update of placement offers on the Eurodyssey Web site.
  • Information of the Eurodyssey contact from the trainee’s home Region on the conditions in which the trainee will be set up and on any possible problem that may occur during the training period.
  • Search for accommodation.
  • Organisation and financing of a language course.
  • Check the possession of civil liability and repatriation insurance.
  • Tripartite agreement or documents committing the three partners.
  • Meeting the costs of the grant or remuneration according to the living standards in the host Region.
  • Monitoring of trainees throughout the training period and assessment.
  • Award of a placement certificate, on the condition that the trainee has presented a written report on his/her placement.

Sending trainees:

  • Full information on the programme for candidates.
  • Pre-selection of candidates and motivation tests: at least one individual interview before the trainee departs.
  • Final selection made by the host company and/or host Region.
  • Declaration to the insurance company before the placement begins and information of the Eurodyssey Secretariat in case the placement should be interrupted or extended.
  • Check that the trainee has full social security.
  • Follow-up survey concerning the trainees.
II.3.4. Relations with the Eurodyssey President and General Secretariat
  • Each member Region must participate in the overall running of the programme should the Eurodyssey Secretariat request assistance: surveys, questionnaires, Press articles …
  • The President and Secretariat must be informed of any changes or difficulties faced by Regions.
  • President and Secretariat will be consulted on any question regarding general organisation: insurance, the Steering Committee, the Forum, AER…

II.4. The Eurodyssey Forum of Regions

II.4.1. Objectives

The Promotion of the Eurodyssey Programme: venue for member and non-member Regions in order to make contacts, exchange ideas and introduce proposals.

II.4.2. Assignment
  • Organised once a year in an AER member Region which meets part of the costs: room hire, meals, airport and/or train station shuttle service. Travel and accommodation expenses will be borne by the participants.
  • Approval of Steering Committee decisions by the active Regions.
  • Approval of the minutes from the previous year’s Forum by the active Regions.
  • Information dissemination: presentation of the exchanges between the Regions, survey results, reports from the young people and the companies, technical workshop for new Regions…
  • Commitment of all competent political authorities for any legal or financial propositions.
II.4.3. Composition
  • Eurodyssey President and General Secretariat.
  • The AER.
  • Regional authorities.
  • Eurodyssey contact persons.
  • New Regions as observers.
II.4.4. AER relations
  • The AER contributes to interpreting costs of the Forum following presentation of the invoices.

II.5. The Eurodyssey Steering Committee

II.5.1. Objectives
  • The Eurodyssey Steering Committee ensures the smooth running and cohesion of the programme.
  • The Steering Committee may make proposals in order to revitalize the programme and define the main guidelines with the Eurodyssey President.
II.5.2. Assignment
  • Agenda proposal for the Eurodyssey Forum to be submitted to the Eurodyssey President and monitoring of its implementation with the General Secretariat.
  • Drawing up of the provisional meeting calendar for the coming year.
  • Proposals to adapt and/or improve the programme.
  • Search for solutions if necessary.
  • Minimum twice yearly meeting + one meeting after the annual Forum.
  • During the Steering Committee meetings, the secretariat and the President, in collaboration with the host Region, act as moderators.
II.5.3. Nomination of members
  • Written request to participate on the Steering Committee to be sent to the Eurodyssey President: reasons for wanting to join the Committee, experience with young people and international mobility…
  • Active Region: a Region which makes a substantial number of exchanges and has been a member Region in Eurodyssey for at least four years counting from the date on which the letter of commitment was signed.
  • Members’ attendance of all Steering Committee meetings is compulsory.
II.5.4. Composition
  • Active Regions members of the AER, including those responsible for the Secretariat and the Presidency.
  • Structures which manage Eurodyssey exchanges on behalf of a Region.
  • The Region organizing the Forum for the year concerned as a guest.
  • Other exceptional guests depending on the agenda.

II.6. The young people

II.6.1. Objectives
  • Taking up a placement of between three and seven months – including a language course – in a Eurodyssey member Region outside of their country of origin.
II.6.2. Possible applicants
  • Young people having accomplished vocational training, in search of professional experience in Europe, from 18 to 30 years old living in a member Region in the programme.
II.6.3. Supervision of the trainees

The home Region’s obligations:

  • The Eurodyssey representative provides full and up to date information on the programme.
  • Pre-selection of candidates.

The host Region’s obligations:

  • Final selection of candidates.
  • Grant or remuneration.
  • Accommodation and language course.
  • Placement in a company in accordance with initial offer.
  • Eurodyssey coordinator’s support in case of personal or professional difficulties.
  • Placement certificate.

Eurodyssey General Secretariat’s obligations:

  • Social security: insurance for civil liability, assistance and repatriation on the basis of the indications provided by the Region of origin.
II.6.4. Candidates’ responsibilities
  • General good behaviour, diligence and respect for working conditions, both concerning language classes and the placement within the company.
  • The placement must not be stopped without real justification which must be accompanied by documentary proof: sick leave form, accident declaration, letter signed by the company and trainee explaining the reasons for drop-out, letter of employment…
  • Written report for both the host and home Regions.
  • Reply to follow-up survey.

II.7. The companies

II.7.1. Objectives
  • To take in European young people and give them professional experience.
II.7.2. Assignment
  • Accompany the trainee throughout his/her placement in compliance with the employment legislation in force in the Region.
  • Help the young person to discover enterprise life and to become socially integrated.
  • Nominate a tutor or contact person to help the trainee when necessary and who will be responsible for the trainee.
  • Entrust the trainee with tasks or assignments in accordance with the placement offer.
  • Monitor the trainee’s progress with the Eurodyssey representative of the host Region.
  • Assess the trainee at the end of his/her placement, transmit the outcome of this assessment to the trainee and to the representative of the host Region.
  • Award a placement certificate (optional).
II.7.3. Types of companies
  • Public or private companies, small and medium-sized enterprises or big international groups.
  • Public Administrations, local governments, economic bodies, consular chambers, research and development institutes, youth organizations, educational institutions…
  • Associations.
  • Sectors: craft, business, industry, agriculture, industry, tertiary sector, culture, research…